'He is a swindler': Seasoned conman jailed

Blair Beaumont (37) was also jailed in 2017 for his fraudulent behaviour. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Blair Beaumont (37) was also jailed in 2017 for his fraudulent behaviour. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A seasoned conman whose $65,000 trail of lies stretches back to 2018 has been locked up for three years, seven months.

Blair David Beaumont (37) appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to 39 charges, a spree which commenced just months after he was released from prison for similar crimes.

Defence counsel Deborah Henderson said her client’s offending was driven by alcohol and gambling addiction but Judge Michael Turner said there was nothing to verify that.

Beaumont — who was labelled “despicable” by one of his victims — had a lengthy history of such offending stretching back a decade and had made previous claims he wanted to change his life.

During his most recent spree, the court heard, he told people a fake story about his partner dying and leaving him to raise an infant child alone in a bid to gain their trust.

“How do you distinguish between the genuine and the con artist?” the judge said.

“He’s told so many lies to so many people over such a long period of time that anything he says that cannot be independently verified cannot be given much credence ... He is a mountebank, a swindler, a person who deceives others. He will say, it seems to me, whatever it takes to achieve his own ends.”

In 2018 and 2019, Beaumont’s modus operandi was straightforward.

He used a pseudonym on social-media site Facebook to advertise electronics for sale such as laptops, watches and cell phones. Victims would contact him to negotiate a fee, then would deposit cash into a bank account as the defendant directed.

Beaumont made repeated excuses but never sent the goods.

In August 2019, he chanced upon another way of ripping people off.

Beaumont organised a stay in a Lower Hutt motel and told the owners to bill “Canterbury Handyman Services”.

The $1158 debt was never settled and the defendant continually used the technique until February this year, scamming seven Dunedin accommodation providers and one in Queenstown.

The hotels and motels would either issue invoices that were never paid or would charge Beaumont’s credit card which would decline.

Between March and May, the man formulated a new ruse.

Using Facebook again, Beaumont advertised 40ft and 20ft shipping containers he was supposedly trying to get rid of.

He was inundated with prospective buyers who sensed a bargain and simply watched the money roll in.

In a matter of weeks, Beaumont’s bank account had swelled by nearly $30,000 and he had provided nothing in return.

Mrs Henderson said her client had made inquiries with rehabilitation facilities while behind bars awaiting sentencing.

“He could have just sat on his hands and done nothing,” she said.

Judge Turner, however, described it as “too little too late”.

Beaumont’s motivation to reform would only be clear once he had completed the treatment, he said.

While the defendant said he wanted to repay the victims, the judge saw that as a cynical attempt to curry favour with the court.

“I don’t regard the offer as genuine and it’s not realistic,” Judge Turner said.

Beaumont was jailed for 18 months in 2017 on 22 dishonesty charges and was still paying back the $7000 he owed those victims.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

 

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